Gear and derailleur mechanisms in high-end bikes are among the more impressive feats of engineering around, which makes bike madman Eric Hagerman's report in Wired on Shimano's new ultra high-end all-electric gear shifters pretty interesting. While other companies have dabbled in replacing rickety lever and cable shifters with all-electric mechanisms, Shimano has taken the tech much further than most. And while it may seem like bike-dude geekery at best, hearing the pros talk about the difference makes it sound like an amazing rig to try.
Switching to servos and batteries is like moving from an automatic transmission to F1 paddle shifters, says one engineer Wired talked to. "Mindblowing—you just touch the button and it shifts," says Tour de France vet Frankie Andreau. And all in all the set is actually lighter than Shimano's current top-of-the-line components, which is a must before pros are even going to go near it. No price yet, but it's pro gear. Big bucks—well over the $2,600 you'd drop on next year's conventional Dura-Ace group. It was on a few riders' bikes at this year's Tour, and it will become available to the public in January of '09 More at: [Wired, Thanks, Joe]